Broxbourne 3XI v St Albans Cricket Club 4XI on Sat 13 Aug 2022 at 13:00
St Albans Cricket Club Won by 13 runs

Match report All the match reports this week will, I’m sure, start off with something along the lines of – “it was hot.”

It was in fact crazy hot, and on arrival at the well-appointed Broxbourne Sports Ground with its impressive pavilion and street food stalls (seriously!) our trudge to the second pitch, a parched, short boundaried oval lacking in facilities and devoid of much shade left some us blowing before we’d even set foot on the pitch .

This a was a big game – Broxbourne top of the league, Saints second. The 4XI’s division is split into four sections – North , East, South & West and placings are decided on an ‘average points’ system with the all four divisional winners automatically securing promotion and two of the four second placed teams also going up.Are you still with me?

Saints had only lost one game in their last 14 Broxbourne. In the last over. A win today would put them in a a very strong position to go up with only three games remaining. Bluntly, the stakes were high.

The first surprise of the day was Skipper Saunders losing the toss but being put into bat by his opposite number to his barely concealed surprise. A head scratcher, but one accepted gratefully and Ashish Dean and Nauman ‘Mani’ Nisar took to the field to get proceedings started.

Aside from Mani crunching two boundaries in the opening over It was a steady start, Broxbourne's opening pair of Hanley and Fishburn bowling nicely, particularly the latter who was particularly frugal .

With the dots mounting, Mani and Ash kept their nerve , leaving the good balls and running hard for singles– impressive given the blistering conditions. At the first drinks break on 15 overs Saints were 55-0 and the two Saints openers were by now in a good rhythm .

Ash was the first to reach a half century, followed by Mani who then tried to sweep the spinner and was adjudged LBW on 51. Back to the pavilion he trudged for a well-deserved fag, to be replaced by ‘Moksy’ Islam who only lasted two balls before being clean bowled by Symms.. A decent delivery that jagged back to be fair.

The stylish Sam Street was next in to partner Ash, who continued to accumulate runs steadily . Sam’s innings of 15 came to an end when he too was bowled and Alfie Button took his place as the Saints innings neared its end, bashing 17 before being run out. This saw wicketkeeper Marcus Cunnington take his place and promptly cart a massive six into the adjoining canal. He went on to notch a valuable 19 runs in double quick time .

These cameos were, however, but a sideshow to the main act. Ash Dean, by now serene in his relentless march to his fourth century for the club and his first for five years. He finished on 103*, having carried his bat from first ball to last.

With a total of 227-4 posted in their 40 overs Saints started their time in the field with youngster Tom Broxton and veteran Charlie Smith in tandem. Broxton was all fire and fury, bowling aggressively and accurately with Smith swinging the ball masterfully and giving little away at the other end.

In the fifth over the breakthrough came – Broxton smashing through the defences of opener Pedlar with only five runs on the board, before striking again in the 6th over to snare the other opener with a beauty that rearranged his stumps.

That brought the number three batsman, Preston, to the crease and he lived something of a charmed life in the early part of his innings surviving a flurry of dropped catches – notably a tough'ish chance in the slips and a dolly behind the stumps - but dug in and built some momentum.

The opposition skipper then came and went quickly, caught off Alfie Button’s first delivery by the irrepressible Broxton, which saw the arrival of the left-handed Taylor , who with Preston started to build the first partnership of note for Broxbourne . He would go on to get a half century off just 29 balls and finish on an impressive 63.

Various Saints bowlers were sent out to stem the runs which were by now leaking at a concerning rate. Tim Winfield stuck to his task but couldn’t get a decent run of overs going (as much to do with decent batting as anything) , and Saints two slow bowlers Saunders and Alexis Awonuga (playing his first league match and acquitting himself well – a bright future beckons) both found the conditions (a low, flat pitch and a dead ball - one of five used during the game ) not suited to their particular skillsets and made brief appearances.

Moksy came on to bowl his short run up quickies but they were too much to the liking of the set batsmen too, so Saunders ambled over to enquire as to whether the exhausted Ash Dean , who had spent the tea interval covered in ice packs to ward off sunstroke , might like to have a bowl .

“Give me the ball skip” was the steely eyed response .

A spectacular performance followed – a wicket second ball , removing Preston on 75, (caught by who else but Broxton) followed by two wickets in his second over including the dangerous Taylor who saw his bails removed by an absolute corker.

Suddenly the Broxbourne innings , which had been cruising along nicely at that point was looking very different and Saints tails were up.

By this point as well it should be noted that Saints had suffered two on-field injuries with Mani aggravating a calf strain with severe cramp (always unintentionally hilarious as he planked face down onto the pitch chasing a ball) and Alfie Button badly slicing his finger open attempting a catch - Saints were essentially down to nine in the field .

The opposition skipper who was umpiring and had already aggressively called our whole team “lazy (insert extreme expletive here)” for politely asking for some help from his teammates to move the single sightscreen during a left hand/right hand, over the wicket/round the wicket period of the game, was now watching on darkly as his lower order batsmen started to come and go with regularity.

A couple of desperate run outs followed (both from Ash’s bowling) before Charlie Smith was returned to the attack to apply the coup de grace – skittling the final two wickets to secure a stunning 13 run win and secure 30 invaluable points.

Cue exuberant celebrations with the Saints players savouring a huge win in their promotion chase ....three cup finals to go !

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
3nb 6w 5b 7lb 
for 4 wickets
Ashish Dean Not Out  103
Nauman Nisar lbw H. Smith 51
Moksudul Islam b O. Symms 1
Samuel Street b L. Fishburn 15
Alfie Button Run out  17
Marcus Cunnington Not Out  19
Thomas Broxton  
Tim Winfield  
Charles Smith  
Alexis Awonuga  
Andy Saunders  

Broxbourne 3XI Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
J. Hanley8.022900.003.63
L. Fishburn8.0129129.003.63
G. PIcker7.004100.005.86
G. Silenti0.005500.000.00
H. Smith 5.003700.007.40
O. Symms4.0022122.005.50

Broxbourne 3XI Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
6nb 6w 1b 1lb 
for 10 wickets
214 (38.3 overs)
J. Pedlar b T. Broxton 2
R.Urwin b T. Broxton 10
T. Preston ct A. Dean 75
H.Smith ct A. Button 4
B.Taylor ct A. Dean 63
O.Symms Run out  4
J. Hanley b A.Dean 5
J. Porter b C. Smith 13
L.Fishburn Run out  6
G. Silenti Not Out  14
G.Picker b C. Smith 1

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Thomas Broxton8.0026213.003.25
Charles Smith7.301829.002.40
Tim Winfield6.004100.006.83
Alfie Button4.0022122.005.50
Moksudul Islam4.003400.008.50
Andy Saunders2.001800.009.00
Ashish Dean5.002438.004.80
Alexis Awonuga2.001700.008.50